SC asks AG to file statement on deportation of Afghans

December 06, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Attorney General to file a concise statement while hearing the petitions challenging the powers of caretaker government for mass deportation of Afghan refugees.

The SC bench adjourned the hearing for the next week and also issued notices to respondents.

On December 1, a three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and comprising Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Ayesha A Malik, held a preliminary hearing on the constitutional petitions and issued notices to the federal government, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and attorney general.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan building in Islamabad can be seen. — AFP/File

Former PPP senator Farhatullah Babar, Senator Mushtaq Ahmed, Mohsin Dawar and human rights activists had filed petitions in the apex court, praying for a restraining order against the forcible deportation or harassment of anyone born in Pakistan and having a claim to birthright citizenship under Section 4 of the Citizenship Act, 1951, as well as the ruling of Islamabad High Court in the 2021 case of Hafiz Hamdullah Saboor.

The court issued a written order stating that the learned counsels for the petitioners contended that the caretaker government has no mandate under the Constitution and law for the deportation of Afghan refugees from Pakistan in an inhuman way, especially person who has already applied for asylum.

“The learned counsels also referred to Section 4 of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 and contended that as the matter involves interpretation of Constitutional provisions, therefore, these petitions may be headed by a 5-member bench of this court,” the written order said.

“Let, in the first instance, notice be issued to respondents No1, 7 and 12 in petition No40 of 2023 and Respondent No1 in Constitution Petition No24 of 2023,” the written order further reads.

The court also issued a notice under Order XXVII CPC to the Attorney General to assist it and file a concise statement and directed that the matter be re-listed in the next week.